Job applications can be tricky. Should you follow up after submitting your job application? Should you follow up after a job interview if you haven’t heard back?

If you’d rather have a rotten tooth removed without anaesthetic than follow up after submitting a job application or attending a job interview, you’re not alone. 

So, it’s been two weeks.  Surely you should have heard by now if they were interested? 

You know you’re perfect for the role – what could possibly be holding them back from excitedly calling you in for an interview or for a second interview if you’ve already met them?

Job application

Of course you hate picking up the phone if you anticipate rejection. 

It’s so hard to ask some stranger if they think your application is worth considering for the job for which you so very painstakingly took the time to apply.

You spent over two hours, maybe three or four hours crafting and fine tuning your cover letter, tailoring your resume for that role that is so perfect for you.

You meet all the requirements of the role … why haven’t they called?  How could they possibly even consider rejecting your application?

And if you’ve attended an interview already, and you felt that things went so well, why haven’t they called you?

Are you reluctant to follow up?  Maybe it’s an ego thing.  Maybe it’s the fear of rejection.  Or maybe you just don’t like picking up the phone.

Job applications can be frustrating, especially when you apply so very perfectly and don’t hear back.   Many screeners may have very good intentions and try to reply to everyone who applies, however, many are inundated with applications and if your application is a very valid one (you meet the requirements of the role), then of course it’s perfectly fine to follow up with a call if you don’t hear back within a couple of weeks.

If you make the call, at least you’ll find out either way and then you can decide what you’ll do next.  Not knowing is a killer.

It plays around in your head.  You keep thinking the phone will ring.  You look at the phone several times an hour, or several times a minute.  You start to hate the phone for not ringing.  I’m being a bit dramatic here but maybe you’ve felt a little like this at times?

Here’s what to do when following up:

1. Understand the priorities of the person you’re phoning

Remember that even though your application is your top priority, to the screener, if the screener is a recruiter, your application is one of many to consider out of a number of roles he/she is trying to fill.

If the follow up is to be with a hiring manager, filling that role is one of many priorities he/she has to focus on.

2. Know what you are going to say

Prepare what you are going to say so you don’t waste time, you sound confident, in control and not needy.  All you’re doing is following up to find out what’s going on.

So when you get through to the right person, let them know who you are, what role you applied for, when you applied and then just say that you are following up to find out if you are in consideration for the role.

3. Smile

When on the phone, even though they can’t see your smiling face, your voice will be more engaging if you relax and are friendly.

4. Stand up when speaking or at least sit up straight

This helps you to sound more confident on the phone.

5. Don’t ring if there is a lot of background noise

If you’re in a busy café, or at home with dogs barking and children screaming, that’s not professional.  Find somewhere quiet to make your call, away from interruptions or distractions so you can focus.

6. Understand they may be short on time

Be succinct; ask if they’ve had a chance to review your application and if not, ask if it’s OK to touch base at a later time, and find out when would be appropriate.

7. If they say, “No”

Thank them for their time and consideration.  If you can, highlight your core competencies that are relevant to the role and let them know that should another need arise for your skills and experience, then you will be happy to be considered. 

Now they know your name and capabilities, next time you may get further along in the process.

This is all about relationship development.  It’s all about touch points. 

The more touch points, the better.  It breeds familiarity.  People are comfortable and are more trusting of people and things they are familiar with.

If another role comes up and your name is familiar, or they already know your capabilities from when they last met you, you may get a second chance.  It’s worth a go, don’t you think?

8. Chase again if you have to

If you’re told you will get a call back but you don’t hear after a week or so, call again.  There may be a multitude of reasons for the delay.

Perhaps the job specification for the role changed, or an internal candidate ended up being the preferred candidate, or the role was withdrawn, or someone was sick or was travelling.

9. What the worst thing that could happen?

If you still feel awkward about calling, just think – the worst thing that could happen by picking up the phone is that you can’t get through, or you do get through and you are told that your application is not progressing. 

If you can’t get through, try again later.

If they tell you it’s the end of the road for you for this role, now you can focus your energy elsewhere.

At all times ensure that your skills and experience are relevant to the role you are targeting.

Find out if you’re a good fit for the company culture and understand what their pain points are by conducting thorough research, talking to your industry network to gain advice and guidance about the company, and, if possible, gain a referral in to the company from someone who is able to create a positive buzz about you.

There isn’t a magic formula that will work every time I’m sorry to say. 

What I do know, from over 20 years of coaching executives through their career transitions, is that those who have a positive, flexible attitude and are willing to try a new approach and explore every angle when marketing themselves despite challenging economic factors, are the ones who are successful in a shorter period of time.

If one door closes, look for the door that is ajar.  If you can’t find one, ask for help!

I will support you through the process.  Join me in my Career Success Program 

Lane that job, get the promotion you deserve, and create a career you’ll love!


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